Intended for healthcare professionals

Head To Head

Is early intervention in the major psychiatric disorders justified? No

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 04 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a710

Paging Dr. Freud

Psychiatric intervention is reflexively synonymous with pharmacotherapy.
Modern psychiatry is dominated by reductionist, mechanistic
psychopharmacology, which focuses almost exclusively on synapses,
neurotransmitters, and SSRIs. Unfortunately, modern psychiatry has largely
dismissed the seminal work of Sigmund and Anna Freud. The former described
structural theory (id, ego, and superego); topographic theory (conscious,
preconscious, and unconscious); oedipus and electra complexes; and
transference and countertransference. The latter described ego defense
mechanisms: repression, denial, rationalization, sublimation, identification,
displacement, projection, and reaction formation. In my opinion, it is difficult,
if not impossible, to truly understand someone’s motivation and behavior
without an appreciation of these two great pioneers.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 August 2008
Hugh Mann
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA